Some say you never really know a distiller until you’ve seen the colour of his gin. And this month, two of the world’s finest distillers will go head-to-head in the Gin Ashes.
That’s right, Tom Warner with Warner’s Rhubarb Gin will battle it out with Stu Gregor and Four Pillars’ Bloody Shiraz. And if you think them are fighting words, well, wait till these captains take the pitch.
If you have a head for cricket, then you know that the Ashes denotes a bitter rivalry; a series of cricket tests that have been played between Australia and England since the late 19th century.
And what’s this got to do with Gin? Well, just stay with us, we’re getting there …
The name The Ashes was started by a UK newspaper, as a way of making fun of the English team who had just lost to the Australians on their home turf. The newspaper was alluding to the English loss marking the death of English cricket, going as far as to say ”the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”
So back to the Gin. Is there really a bitter rivalry that could equal this between English and Australian Gin?
Well, you’ve got to assume that by using the name of that great cricketing event, these two distillers are in a battle for the hearts of English and Australian gin drinkers. A contest where each distillery adds their botanicals in the hope of determining who’s gin is better (a chance for the Juniper to fall where it will, shall we say).
And trust us, it would be easy to think that this is another opportunity for Australians to Lord over the Poms (get it … Lord … Lord’s Cricket Ground…), create a reverse-Bodyline for the 21st century or simply parade gin that would bowl a maiden over.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, I know what you’re thinking. With different botanicals and different techniques, it’s not just about how we score the runs but whether we’re in fact umpire enough to enforce the laws and adjudicate of play.
Are we really about to pit Rhubarb against Bloody Shiraz to find out whose liquid gets over the line? Or are we creating parallels between each brands’ bottles on the shelves of Waitrose or Dan Murphy’s and the players on the field?
It’s probably a little more likely that we’re actually just letting you know that an English distiller and an Australian distiller are about to host a couple of Facebook Live sessions together. And that they are both going to trash-talk each other while drinking gin and making a couple of references to sport.
Talking metal stills, distillations and gin in the time covid – you’ve got a front-row seat to two world-class distillers having a ‘friendly’ discussion over the interweb. Since the pandemic has prevented them from travelling, this is their versions of retiring to the nearest bar.
“We were hoping to be in Australia twice in 2020. In March (for Bars March) and in October (for Junipalooza Melbourne & The Fever-Tree Sydney G&T festival),” said Warner. “COVID sadly meant we had to cancel both those trips.
“The borders understandably remain closed, but we wanted to try and personally say hello to our loyal fans in Australia, so what better way to virtually say hello than via ‘The Gin Ashes’! We are bloody thrilled to be doing this (pun intended!).”
Warner explains that the first ‘test’ will give Warner’s the home ground advantage and be held at Falls Farm in the UK. The second will test everyone’s metal and ability to work out time zone difference, as the newly opened Four Pillar’s Lab in Sydney plays host.
“The last time I saw Tom in person was at Junipalooza 2019 in London,” said Gregor “and I, literally, stumbled into a masterclass he was conducting and started heckling him from the bleachers.
“Until we can crash each others’ events in person again, we’ll have to make do with sledging over the screen. He’s a good guy (for a Pom) and he makes some bloody great gin, so it will be fun. See you on the webcam.”
The first test is for UK fans at 7.30pm UK time on Friday, November 13th on Warner’s Facebook Page.
The second test for Aussie gin fans (and hopefully a few ex-pats) is at 6pm Sydney time on Tuesday, November 17th via the Four Pillars Facebook Page.
Gentlemen, it’s time to call play …